April 28, 2007

The day of the spider: Gordon Brown

ANY week now, Tony Blair will announce the date on which he is going to resign. No one knows what the date will be; but equally, no one doubts that Gordon Brown, the chancellor, will succeed him. David Miliband, the environment secretary and most plausible alternative, says he will not run against him. Two candidates from Labour's left have garnered only token support. Nothing, it seems, will prevent Mr Brown from becoming leader of the Labour Party and leader of his country two months from now.

Yet beyond his loyal band of supporters, few people in Britain feel enthusiastic about the prospect. How is he so entitled, yet so unloved? Part of the answer lies in his personality: his unbending ambition, power of concentration, moral certainty and sheer political grip. Part goes back to 1992, when Labour last lost a general election and learned a crucial lesson from it. And a third part lies in how Mr Brown has worked with his colleagues—above all, with Mr Blair—and in his record as chancellor of the exchequer.

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